This submarine’s operational characteristics and range have been tailored specifically for its defence and two-ocean surveillance role in the Royal Australian Navy. Designed to be as quiet as advanced technology can achieve, Collins has been developed from five generations of submarines designed and built over the last 20 years for the Swedish Navy.
One of the first submarines to be totally designed by computers, HMAS Collins boasts a vast range of features including a high-performance hull form, highly automated controls, low indiscretion rates, high shock resistance, optimal noise suppression, efficient weapons handling and discharge. The single propeller submarine moves silently on electric power supplied to the propulsion motor by banks of batteries. The batteries are recharged by three diesel generator sets.
The submarine is named after VADM Sir John Augustine Collins, KBE, CB, RAN, a significant figure in the Navy’s history. During his tenure as the CAPT of HMAS Sydney (II) in World War II, Collins lead his men to victory in the Mediterranean against a formidable enemy, sinking the Italian destroyer Espero in June 1940 and engaging two Italian cruisers, Bartolomeo Colleoni and Giovanni Delle Bande Nere, in the Battle of Cape Spada in July 1940. HMAS Sydney (II) inflicted heavy damage upon Bartolomeo Colleoni, which was eventually torpedoed and sunk by British destroyers. HMAS Sydney (II) was ordered to return to Alexandria as the second cruiser escaped due to her superior speed. In June 1944, in recognition of his valuable services, he was made a CDRE 1st Class and appointed CMDR of the Australian Squadron. On 21st October 1944, whilst taking part in landings in the Philippines , his Flagship HMAS Australia (II) was attacked by Japanese suicide aircraft which struck and severely damaged the bridge. Collins was severely injured in this attack and was evacuated back to Australia .
In 1947 Collins was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, becoming one of the first graduates of the Royal Australian Naval College to attain flag rank. In February 1948, he assumed the appointment of First Naval Member of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board and Chief of Naval Staff, a post which he retained for a record seven years until he retired on 23rd February 1955.